Cryptocurrency is like a bird to the world finance market. A bird that is yet rare in species, but takes many unique identifiers from just about everywhere. It possesses characteristics such as from a hawk that flies very high, but also comes down, forced by the rather not friendly environment. It keeps grace and repertoire but also moves very quickly and swiftly.
Such is the pace of the crypto industry. Every news about it feels like it is the next big thing.
As it is well established that to make predictions about this game of ebbs and flows is not child’s play, we take a look at how correct were we, a year ago when we had these eight stories and predictions that made our way.
Bitcoin could be worth $619,000
This audacious prediction made by Forbes exactly a year and a day ago, could still be true, which is a testament to the volatile and ever abrupt nature of the world’s most famous crypto coin. But it is doubtful to make many people make believe in this now, a year on.
Back then, Bitcoin was flying at a then high of $4,477 and it seemed all greenlights for it to go on and bloom further. Since then, it has not increased in value as per to become worth more than half a million dollars. Sitting wealthy at above $6,500 now, one maybe forgiven to focus more on the fact that it is still nowhere near the absolute high of $17,900 since the rather hefty market corrections faced this year.
If this almighty prediction from Forbes’ very own Naeem Aslam is yet to come true, then he will deserve undoubtedly all the fame and fortune that comes his way. But right now, we wouldn’t even take it with a pinch of salt.
Although Ransomware hacks have been pertinent for years, but 2017 had been particularly nasty. In May, a ransomware called WannaCry shocked the world when it held Microsoft computers hostage using an operating system exploit, encrypting the files on infected computers and demanding a $300 million payment in bitcoin as ransom for release of the systems. The hack had rather many deteriorating effects for users running outdated Microsoft operating systems around the world.
Another major ransomware attack was noted on June 27, 2017, when a variant of ransomware ‘Petya’ took down computers in over 80 companies. Some notable victims were British Media Advertising agency WPP plc, global law firm DLA Piper, international commercial shipping company Maersk, among others.
The attackers here also demanded $300 in bitcoin. However, they received far less than the WannaCry hackers of almost 4BTC at that time.
The estimated revenues lost to the hack was announced at almost $300 million for each company.
There is an overall worldwide consensus on the fact that there is an ailing scalability issue that the cryptocurrency faces. It triggered the crypto community and worthy stakeholders to gather in a meeting on May 23, 2017 and announce a scaling agreement, known as ‘The New York Agreement’.
The agreement suggested improvements to work in a way to activate a Segregated Witness (hence the name, Segwit) at 80% hash power threshold and engaging a hard fork to double the block weight limit within six months.
The hard fork, also referred to as Segwit2x, was meant to take place on November 16, 2017, but was cancelled on November 8, 2017. The first half of the agreement was carried out, but the support for Segwit2x fell through because of a number of reasons.
Bitcoin Cash launched to fans’ delight
On August 11th 2017, Bitcoin finally forked to create Bitcoin Cash (BCash). A landmark moment that it promised to be, with fans jubilant at the prospect of BCash going on to revolutionize cryptocurrencies, it has not fared too well. However, a recent spurt in growth has restored some promise.
BCash was a soft fork to implement SegWit protocol on the Bitcoin network to improve scalability. It does have a $1 billion valuation, but the jury is still out on Bitcoin Cash and it’s one of the most divisive subjects in crypto. Yes, it made transactions slightly faster and cheaper, but there are major drawbacks, and the promised revolution hasn’t materialized yet.
Whoppercoin Launched in Russia
There was a time when crypto had taken just about everybody by storm. Every brand and company set out to launch their own cryptocurrency, and burger king only followed suit. They launched the ‘Whoppercoin’ in Russia, a year ago.
Whoppercoin would not exactly work like a cryptocurrency, but merely served as means of advertising off the crypto-phobia around the world. It was basically a rewards scheme for costumers, which offered 1 billion Whoppercoins on the blockchain. One Burger King Whopper cost a ‘whopping’ 1,700 coins when it launched while each coin was was worth $0.0000013, but we are yet to hear of a Whoppercoin millionaire.
Speaking of the crypto mania, that of Bitcoin in particular, it would be criminal to forget the Mortgages for Bitcoin. In 2017, the people were taking out mortgages to buy runaway cryptocurrencies that people thought the world would soon run out off or find at very high prices.
Even at the peak of the feeding frenzy, when bitcoin soared above $19,000, the director of the Alabama Securities Commission, Joseph Borg warned about the risks and suggested this wasn’t a wise investment.
You’re on this mania curve. At some point in time there’s got to be a leveling off. Cryptocurrency is here to stay. Blockchain is here to stay. Whether it is bitcoin or not, I don’t know.
Wise words, we must say.
China’s Central Bank banned ICOs
On September 4, 2017, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) bid farewell to ICOs in a statement released by the Chinese Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).
They advised that token sale in the country should “stop immediately” and warned organizations and individuals that have completed the their token transactions should make arrangements such as clearance to reasonably protect rights and interests of investors and handle risks accordingly.
Supporters of ICOs were left dejected by the world’s 2nd largest economy closing it’s doors to the new asset class. But many of the view points shared by PBOC were reasonable and important to curb anti-scamming activities.
Shortage of GPU’s
The PC community seemingly did not really like crypto miners. In 2017, the industry caused a worldwide shortage of Graphic Cards that served as processing units for crypto mining.
Cryptocurrency miners bought 3 million GPUs in 2017 and basically cleared the shelves in the market, leaving the PC industry empty handed. Prices skyrocketed thanks to a global shortage and the cheaper AMD chips started to be used by miners who were left with no choice.
In the end, cryptominers estimatedly spent $776 million on these chips. This one-off deliverance has since then been rectified by major companies becoming themselves involved in the production of GPUs. This year, major companies like Bitmain have invested tens of millions of dollars in purpose-built computing set-ups.
8 months into 2018, we’re again not short on crypto stories and the contributors might well be licking their lips at burgeoning yet another report on blockhain, cryptocurrency and bitcoin happenings in the year 2018.
Watch this space!